Written by Nicasius Kamani

Part 5: The Supreme Character of Jesus Christ


In trying to explain what they would do if the greatest of the dead were to reappear suddenly in flesh,one man said:“If Shakespeare entered the door we would all rise; but if Jesus appeared, we would all kneel in reverence.”This opinion is shared by all who have thoughtfully read the four gospels of Jesus Christ and meditated upon the personal character that Christ displayed.

No painter, however good, has ever made a picture of Jesus which could adequately depict his character. No author, no orator, and no teacher is able to sufficiently bring outJesus’ character in words.Christ’s character is so profound; it is way beyond our demonstration. Yet, this is the standard that he calls us to.We all should be very proud of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for his exemplary character. And as we wind up this series on Character Change, it is only fitting that we take time to learn from the Master himself.

There are many Christians who view and talk about Jesus Christ almost in an apologetic tone. They view him as someone ‘weak’ because there are certain things that he taught and practiced that simply go against normal thinking. For example: he taught that if they strike your left cheek, offer them the right as well. And if they take your tunic, let them have your cloak as well. These are not character traits that we associate with the strong—no,it is the weaklings who are ‘suppressed’ in this manner.However, it is startling to even begin to understand the character that is usually behind such thinking, such a mindset. It is an amazing character! And Jesus possessed it in an almost limitless measure.

I can liken the nature of Jesus’ character toan onion. An onion has layers upon layers—and they all have equal potency. If you peel off one layer, you are still left with a replica of the original.Of Jesus alone, among all the dead and the living, can it be said that to imitate his exampleand to obey his teachings would amount to precisely the same thing.

That cannot be said of me; it cannot be said of you either.Our expectations and demands of other people most often lack in the daily example that we portray.I easily find huge variances between my example and my expectations of others. Not so with Jesus!Every page of the four gospel books brings out tons and tons of Christ’s remarkable character. He is described as being strong, richly developed, beautifully symmetrical, faultless, perfect…and the like.So thoroughly symmetrical is his character in all its proportions that a careless observer does not realize to what extent it is at the same time great and strong.

In his days, the few charges that Jesus’ enemies brought against his character were these:

  • He ate with tax collectors and sinners (Mathew 9:10-13).
  • He disregarded Sabbath law by healing on the Sabbath and by allowing his disciples to pluck handfuls of grain on the Sabbath (Mathew 12:1-13).
  • He did healings by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons (Mathew 12:24).
  • His disciples failed to wash their hands before eating bread (Mathew 15:2).
  • At his trial, his enemies raised a charge that he opposed payment of taxes to Caesar and claimed to be Christ, a king. But this was dismissed by the Roman governor, Pilate who said: “I find no charge against this man.”(Luke 23:2-4)

Nearly every passage in the bible where Christ is involved, or just mentioned by other biblical personalities, is packed with insightful glimpses of his supreme character. A simple passage such as the one outlined below easily brings out his amazing character:

Then each went to his own home. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 7:53-8:11)

I would like to paint a simple picture of what had just happened in this passage: It is early in the morning and Jesus is back to the temple. Soon enough a crowd gathers, Jesus sat down and began to talk to them. As he was speaking, the Jewish leaders and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. This creates a commotion and the law custodians demand that Jesus gives a verdict. But before they do that, they quickly remind Jesus of the requirements of the law, lest he forgets and reads from another script. The Son of God is being asked to interpret the very law that he set before the Israelites through Moses, at Mount Sinai. What a mockery! A deeper scrutiny reveals that the goal of bringing a sinner before Jesus was simple: to try and trap Jesus, cause him to say some unpopular thing,and get a basis for further accusations, hoping that in the end they would dissuade the masses from believing in him.

This is a very trying situation for anyone to find himself in. It is during such times that character is tested. Character is not tested when everyone is singing and shouting praises to our name—it is not! Jesus, by his example in this passage, helps us learn how to carry ourselves through similar encounters. Three things are very evident about Jesus:

1) He Always Acted Appropriately

Despite all the pressure that was piled upon him, Jesus exhibits no haste, and consequently no error. He acted prudently!We see a very composed Jesus. He took his time to respond to the accusations leveled against the woman. He took time to think over his responses—he pondered over what to say. He took time to let the leaders andthe Pharisees ponder over their lives. He took time to address the woman. He gave everyone a chance to face their sinful pasts and come to repentance. Jesus then took time to narrate to the woman the one condition that accompanies forgiveness, which is repentance (“Go and sin no more”).

Jesus was very careful not to make a costly error. Had he rushed over the issues at hand, the matter could easily have deteriorated and resulted in mob justice—and the woman would have died without giving her life to Jesus. Who knows, maybe some of those who walked away, afraid to cast a stone, later repented of their sins. Who knows, maybe Nicodemus was one of them—and this act of prudence by Jesus actually reinforced his resolve to truly follow Christ.

There are several things that Jesus could have done. But after weighing them all in the light of eternity, he chose to act appropriately. He understood that certain errors in life trigger a cycle of sins. For example: getting intoa wrong relationship leads to sins of the flesh, which lead to strained marriages and painful life in other instances.Getting the wrong type of loans can leadto a cycle of debts, making it difficult to provide for the family. It can also lead to unmet obligations, which further results in cheating, corruption and stealing. An erroneous decision to keep wrong company is disastrous since bad company corrupts good character. (We may think that this lesson should be learnt by our school-going children. And you are right, because their character is forming, but hey, it is equally true for adults).

One of the surest ways to help us grow in righteousness, that I have learnt over time,is this: to try and learn from various situations that made us sin.It is about minimizing the number of errors that we make in life.Small things like: making promises we have not counted cost on, overreacting here and there, prejudging him and her, lateness today and tomorrow, making financial commitments with money we don’t have, and procrastinating on important matters (Oops!). These are the things that eventually come to haunt us and cause us to commit unnecessary sins.

I would encourage us to make a firm resolve that we will henceforth make the least financial/money errors, relationship errors, and work-related errors. My message to you today is: Stay out of trouble on a day-to-day basis and you will be very fine. Jesus would say that everyday has enough trouble of its own. If we spent time focused on staying away from trouble and not making foolish errors, we would by far be better off.

2) HeHad No Sinister Intentions (He hadNo Evil Passions)

In this passage, we don’t see any hints of Jesus getting carried away by the euphoria of the moment to commit a group sin (an orgy). He could have joined the fray of the masses and done two or three things: he could have lusted over this woman; or placed unsubstantiated charges against her; he could have condemned her; and he could have failed to forgive her sins.He even avoided eye contact with this daughter of God(who very likely is in heaven today). Jesus would not dare play with sin.

Not so with us. In regard to sexual sins, we easily flirt even with people’s spouses. We give that second look and it is clear from our faces that we are enjoying ourselves.

Jesus was a man of pure intentions.Across the bible, there is no one incident where he had a sinister motive.If we are going to be righteous in God’s sight, we must deliberately develop a character of always harboring pure intentions.Jesus desired that all men make it to heaven; that Satan be defeated in everyone’s life. On the contrary, the multitude desired to see this woman dead, justice administered in its severity.

Jesus had pure intentions. All he wanted was to teach God’s truth to the hungry and the thirsty. He wanted repentant hearts that he could forgive. On the contrary, the masses wanted to see both the magnitude and the consequences of this woman’s sins, as if it would have made any difference in their own lives.

Jesus’ intentions were noble. He wanted to see everyone deal with his own sins. And he succeeded to a small extent to touch the heart of the woman. On the contrary, we really like seeing the breadth and height of the sins of others. Is it at all building to the body of Christ to hear that a disciple has say,stolen from another? Desiring to see the magnitude of people’s sins is Pharisaic. Desiring to see people deal with their sins is Christ-like. This is the nature of Christ. We ought to desire to grow more and more in this attribute. This is indeed the basis and the foundation of the great commission.

There are Christians who have mastered the art of showing others the full extent of their sins. Instead, could you kindly master the art of showingGod’s children how to deal with their sin—and you’ll be one with Christ!Don’t be quick to produce the evidence of people’s sins; instead, be quick to produce the solution to people’s sins.That is what a pure motive does.Can people say this of you and me?

What did the masses really want of themselves? They wanted to be regarded as righteous and to be considered as first. They wanted to be associated with the things of God. They even tried to help God with a very heavy matter—that of judging a sinner! Carrying out the duties of the pharisaic office was very important to them, because it is that very office that defined them. On the other hand, Jesus desired to complete the work that God had set before him; he wanted to represent God in the best possible way. Jesus desired to be defined by God. No wonder he wasn’t concerned with the question leveled on him.

Many times we want to complete our work. Our tasks, our plans and our programsare very important. There is a very thin line between doing the work of God and our own personal work. Many times we want to represent ourselves in the best possible way. And we want to be the very first. Many times we want to be defined by our positions. Instead, we should strive to be defined by God. And God has some very good titles: He calls us ‘good and faithful servants’, ‘the children of God’, ‘disciples of Jesus’, ‘my servants’… and the like.

There is something very wicked about sinister intentions. It is the first shoot of sins-to-come. And so, by entertaining these intentions, we create an ideal breeding ground for uncontrollable wickedness.

3) He Was Patient with Everyone

In front of Jesus were people tormented by Satan from all sides. Each was committing their own sins according to their evil passions. He was so patient with all ofthem that he gave each time to come to terms with his sinful pasts.We all need to come to terms with our sinful past, before we can make a decision to walk away from sin. And sure enough, all of them walked away from their sinful past.

But, there was a problem: It appears to me that only one of them faced their sins, because if they did, they would have walked up to the Saviour and received forgiveness. Maybe,a few laterreturned to Jesus for forgiveness. The lesson that we learn is that we need to develop a character that constantly decides to face our sins, walk away from them, as we head towards Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus for the church. In it, we enjoy the fellowship of the saints as we help, remind, and convict one another of our past sins.

Unfortunately, many walk away from their past sins and at the same time walk away from Jesus. They are like the Pharisees and the multitude that wanted to stone the sinful woman.Though they considered themselves to be first, in the end, they will be last—for the last shall be first (Mark 10:31).


Jesus’ life, though scrutinized by bitter enemies, yielded no hint of greed or scandal. He was able in a public forum to challenge his enemies with the question, “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” (John 8:46).

Jesus touched lives at many points, yet it was mainly and essentially the life of the poor and the sinners that he impacted the most.Jesus delighted in his work. He loved to do good, even when it appeared to be on the smallest scale.

He loved men, and was glad to do them good. He loved God, and it was a joy to do him honor. Let us do likewise. Amen.

© 2019 ICOCEA | International Churches of Christ East Africa
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